Although some of North Carolina’s bigger cities like Charlotte and the Raleigh/Durham area tend to get a lot of notoriety because of their many amenities and conveniences, the small and eclectic city of Asheville shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to choosing a place to retire. Located in the western part of the state in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a charming town with a laid-back atmosphere and with a wide range of activities to choose from, sights to see, and interesting places to explore.
Along with scenic mountain views, Asheville has four full seasons with a vibrantly colored fall that brings in visitors from all over the country hoping to catch peak leaf season. The city does get its fair share of snow during the colder months, giving residents plenty of reason to relax cozy up by the fire, while mild springs and summers offer up comfortable temperatures that allow for a lot of time spent in the great outdoors.
With countless recreational activities in the area, it’s extremely easy for locals to stay fit and lead a healthy lifestyle. There are over 50 golf courses throughout Asheville, countless rivers and streams perfect for water sports as well as trout or fly fishing and several well-known ski resorts within a short driving distance.
The nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, considered one of the most scenic drives in America, lends itself to plenty of quick road trips and sightseeing adventures at some of the state’s most iconic landmarks, including Chimney Rock, Linville Falls, Grandfather Mountain, and the Lin Cove Viaduct.
Both the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are also close by and full of hiking and biking trails — and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is just an hour away. For further trips, there’s the Asheville Regional Airport, which is located only 10 miles from the city’s center.
Plenty to Do and See
Downtown Asheville is easily walkable and teeming with award-winning restaurants, craft breweries, live music venues, antique shopping, open-air markets, and the popular River Arts District, which is home to numerous art studios and galleries.
The Asheville Community Theater and North Carolina Stage Company always have new productions in the works. Other attractions include the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest private estate, the North Carolina Arboretum, Botanical Gardens of Asheville, and the Omni Grove Park Inn.
Still want more options? For active adults who want to take advantage of continued learning opportunities, the University of North Carolina at Asheville has the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which offers a wealth of courses each semester that range from anthropology and economics to political science and photography.
Other advantages to living in Asheville include more affordable housing prices than some of the state’s bigger cities, plus, less traffic, lower taxes and crime rates.